FORMER Albion defender Marc Cucurella has thanked the club for giving him one of the best years of his career.

The Spaniard left Albion earlier this summer as he completed a transfer to Chelsea, as part of a club record sale, reported to be in the region of £62million including add-ons.

When asked about his time at Albion, he said it was "maybe the best year of my career."

He said: "When I came here to Brighton it was difficult for me but they help me a lot. I needed to change to the country, a new language for my family. It was very difficult for a few months but they help me and the coach gave me the opportunity to play in the Premier League.

"This club, for me, it's a fantastic year, one or maybe the best year in my career and I'm very happy to all of them, to the fans and I'm very happy to the Seagulls."

The Cucurella deal to Chelsea was one of the transfer sagas of the window as it he was originally the top target for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, but it was the Blues that won his signature.

On the move, Cucurella said: "A lot of rumours. I think it was a good moment to move to a big club.

"Chelsea is a big club. Very happy to stay here. Interested in me all summer. Happy to stay here.

""I am very happy because it is a lot of money, Todd (Boehly) and the gaffer (Thomas Tuchel) showed so much interest in me.

"I want to work hard, adapt to the team, to win and play good for the club." 

Cucurella had already played at Stamford Bridge, during his time at Albion and he has fond memories of the game as it ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to a Danny Welbeck equaliser, set-up by the defender.

About Stamford Bridge, he said: "It's amazing. I remember last season playing for Brighton, and we scored last minute.

"The stadium atmosphere is very good, the fans sing. The stadium is famous, a history stadium.

"To play for this club is very nice for me."

Albion have since signed Pervis Estupiñán as Cucurella's replacement.